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New Law Gives Nurses a Voice in Staffing Plans

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Key Takeaways

  • New York legislation now requires general hospitals in the state to seek input from nurses and other staff in creating staffing plans.
  • Hospitals will form committees of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, hospital administrators, and other staff members.
  • The law will go into effect in January 2022.

New York legislation achieved a big victory for nurses. 

As of June 22, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law staffing mandates for hospitals and nursing homes that will seek input from nurses and other staff in order to create proactive, efficient staffing plans.1 

The law requires hospitals to form committees of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, ancillary staff members providing direct patient care, and hospital administrators to form the staffing plans.1

In a statement given to the press, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated, “This legislation requires hospitals to create committees that include the very same staff who treat patients on the ground every single day and come up with plans that take their concerns into consideration when allocating staff.”1 

Staffing ratios, especially among nurses, is an ongoing issue in healthcare. Staffing levels have always been a key concern for nursing unions, and the pandemic highlighted the struggles of healthcare workers who say they sometimes take care of more patients than they can reasonably handle.2

The state health department will enforce the staffing plans with monetary fines for hospitals that are noncompliant, and will also establish new minimum staffing standards for ICUs and critical care units to be incorporated in each hospital’s annual staffing plans.2

The law will go into effect in January 2022. Hospital staffing committees must adopt their first staffing plans and submit them to the state health department by July 1, 2022. It’s unclear how the law will play out in non-unionized workplaces.1

“We need to make sure nurses and ancillary staff have a voice in their hospitals, and these new requirements will make sure they collaboratively plan for the future.”1

References

  1. New York law gives nurses a voice in hospital staffing plans. AP News. Published June 19, 2021. Accessed June 28, 2021. 
  2. Mensik H.  New York passes safe staffing law for hospitals, nursing homes. Healthcare Dive. Published June 22, 2021. Accessed June 28, 2021.

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